External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s first visit to Sri Lanka from Monday, comes a month before Sri Lanka hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit.
Many organisations have called on India and other influential Commonwealth members such as Canada to boycott the summit in protest against the alleged human rights violations that took place during the vicious final battles between the military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
In Jaffna, where India recently opened a consulate, Mr. Khurshid will review the ongoing India-assisted development projects including the flagship — 50,000 housing units for those displaced by the war.
In Colombo, official sources said issues relating to fishermen are likely to be a major focus of discussions as the number of Indian fishermen arrested so far in 2013 exceeds last year’s figures.
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris during his India visit in August cited election-eve pressure from Northern Province politicians and intransigence by some fishermen for the government’s tough approach against Indian fishermen violating the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
With the pressure of the elections over and some steps having been taken by Tamil Nadu to address Sri Lanka’s environment degradation concerns, Mr. Khurshid is likely to call on Colombo to take a humanitarian approach to the detentions.
The discussions will also touch trade, investment and development cooperation as also to address issues relating to the Sampur Thermal Power Project and aspects of Indian technical assistance to Sri Lanka.